Anand starts with draw in Mainz

Viswanathan Anand starts off with an exciting draw against Alexei Shirov of Spain in the first game of the chess championship in Mainz.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:08 IST
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Mainz, Germany:

Dortmund Champion Viswanathan Anand started off with an exciting draw as black against Grandmaster Alexei Shirov of Spain in the first game of main event of chess classic dubbed as the duel of the World champions. The draw is a good result to start of the proceedings for Anand in this year's edition of this event even though he had to fight hard for the result and was almost pushed to the wall at one point. A winner here in three previous outings, Anand will play the next game with white. The match is being played with 25 minutes to each player with a 10 seconds edition after every move is made. There will be 8-games in all to determine the winner and in case of a tied score, blitz tiebreak games will come in to effect. Anand almost survived by the skin of his teeth in the opinion of many experts here. In all his three previous victories in Chess Classic at Mainz, Anand had been trailing at some point of time and quite a few believed during the first game that the trend would continue. However, with his natural ability to play quick and correct in difficult situations, Anand got the draw in the end against the World Championship runner up of 2001 who is referred to as vice world champion 2001 in this contest. It was Rubenstein French and given the treatment, it is unlikely to get repeated in the match by Anand with black pieces. Shirov himself is an exponent of the French and he had little troubles in getting a subtle edge in the middle game that he nurtured for till such time his clock began to pressurise him. Anand found some solace in the trading of pieces at regular intervals but was definitely treading on thin ice once whites knight found a nice and nagging outpost on the seventh rank. Shirov however was already in time pressure by this time and all Anand had to do was to find right defensive moves that have seldom been a trouble for the Indian ace. Shirov could only manage to continue the exchange of pieces and on move 41 Anand had a readymade draw in hand through perpetual checks. In the Chess 960 match being organised simultaneously, defending champion peter Svidler started his campaign with a hard-fought victory over challenger Levon Aronian of Armenia. Chess 960 is a name given to Fischer Random chess in which the position of the pieces is changed randomly before the game. The new name is given as there are as many as 960 possibilities to set up a chessboard at the start of a game. (PTI)